This post is brought to you by RAD Roller, who sent us their helix. The design of the helix was actually inspired by DNA - the arched design not only replicates a double helix but it also protects the spine - pretty cool, right? While YBC was compensated for the post, all opinions are our own.
If you're a regular reader here at YBC you might already be familiar with RAD Roller and their line of mobility products (we chatted about muscle recovery, muscle release, and how to easily destress at work in the past). With summer right around the corner, we're gearing up for lots of travel for our summer 2016 yoga retreats and workshops in Italy and Morocco. We all know what long haul travel does to the body so while it might be an absolute dream to have a personal massage therapist on hand 24/7 - it's just not in the cards for us - but that's where the Helix comes in. It's super light and conveniently compact so you can throw it in your luggage or carry-on without second thought.
If you're like me and thought that all foam rollers are created equal - let me just explain that we are wrong. This isn't your ordinary foam roller, my friends - it has been designed with the structure of your body in mind. Its tapered design makes it stand apart from others because it doesn't force hyperextension of the spine.
After a long travel day heading to Costa Rica, I was ready to put the Helix to the test. While this specific tool works particularly well for the lumbar (lower) and thoracic (middle) spine, it can really be used anywhere on the body.
The skin contains nerves and it can glide when contacted and moved. If a region of your back is painful you can try applying pressure with the Helix and ‘dragging’ the skin away from the site of pain while lying on the floor in a comfortable position. As the skin moves the nerves embedded in it will also receive a stimulus and this can change your brain’s perception of what is happening at the site of discomfort or rigidity. The Helix’s ridges help you create shearing forces to improve the gliding of the different structures including skin, adipose tissue, fascia and muscle.
My neck was the first thing I couldn't wait to work - I do a lot of reading when I fly so hours of looking down does a number on the muscles around my neck. For a proper neck flush, hold one side of the roller and roll your whole body halfway onto one side. Push through your heels and make small 3-inch motions back and forth, working from the top of the neck to the bottom. This will provide a gentle massage to the superficial muscles of the neck and upper back.
To target your hamstring and calf, sit down with your torso leaned back and your hands behind to support. Place one side of the roller under your leg, just forward of the sit bone. Raise your non-working leg up so the knee is bent at 90 degrees. Push back and forth with the heel, making 4-inch movements and working slowly toward the knee. Raise your torso vertically to intensify.
Think of The Helix as a gateway to your nervous system. Just like with yoga, a few minutes of mobility work a day will have you moving more freely and with less pain in no time.
One of the girls at our retreat gave it a try on her back and saw some colored stripes the following day. If this happens to you, don’t worry! The people at RAD let us know it’s a sign of increased skin temperature and (if we want to break out the microscope) increased cellular activity in the region, circulation and potentially a reflex change in the holding pattern of the muscle.
If you're looking to improve mobility and decrease pain, we definitely encourage you to check out this product.
We'd love to hear from you: Down in the comments section below let's talk mobility and pain. How often do you work on it? What do you do to improve your mobility and decrease pain? Do you find certain activities or things like travel affect how your body physically feels? What other things do you do to improve how you feel?